AskDefine | Define Arkhangelsk

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Proper noun

  1. A city in northwestern Russia on the White Sea.


Extensive Definition

Arkhangelsk (), formerly called Archangel in English, is a city and the administrative center of Arkhangelsk Oblast, Russia. It lies on both banks of the Northern Dvina river near its exit into the White Sea in the far north of European Russia. City districts spread for over along the banks of the river and numerous islands of its delta. Arkhangelsk was the chief seaport of medieval Russia. It is served by Talagi Airport and the smaller Vaskovo Airport. The city is located at the very end of the long railroad, connecting it to Moscow via Vologda and Yaroslavl. Population: 356,051 (2002 Census); down from 415,921 recorded in the 1989 Census.


Early history

The area where Arkhangelsk is situated was known to the Vikings as Bjarmaland. Ohthere from Hålogaland told from his travels circa 800 of an area by a river and the White Sea with many buildings. This was probably the place later known as Arkhangelsk. According to Snorri Sturluson there was a Viking raid on this area in 1027, led by Tore Hund.
In 1989, an unusually rich silver treasure was found by the mouth of Dvina, right next to present day Arkhangelsk. It was probably buried in the beginning of the 12th century, and contained articles that may have been up to 200 years old at that time.
Most of the findings are made up by a total of of silver, mostly coins. Jewelry and pieces of jewelry hails from Russia or neighbouring areas. Most coins were German, but there was also a smaller number of Kufan, English, Bohemian, Hungarian, Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian coins.
It is hard to place this find historically until further research is completed. There are at least two possible interpretations. It may be a treasure belonging to the society outlined by the Norse source material. Generally such find, whether from Scandinavia, the Baltic area or Russia, are closely tied to well-established agricultural societies with considerable trade activity.
Alternatively, like the Russian scientists who published the find in 1992, one may see it as an evidence of a stronger force of Russian colonisation than previously thought.

Novgorod Russians arrive

In the 12th century, the Novgorodians established the Archangel Michael Monastery in the estuary of the Northern Dvina.
The main trade centre of the area at that time was Kholmogory, located slightly upstream where the rivers Dvina and Pinega meet. Written sources indicate that Kholmogory existed early in the 12th century, but there is no archeological material to illuminate the early history of the town. It is not known whether this settlement was originally Russian, or if it goes back to pre-Russian times. Centrally in the small town it is today, the so called Gorodok can be found, a large mound of building remains and river sand. However this has not been archeologically excavated.

Norwegian-Russian conflict

Arkhangelsk came to be important in the rivalry between Norwegian and Russian interests in the northern areas. From Novgorod, the Russian interest sphere was extended far north to the Kola peninsula in the 12th century. However, here Norway enforced taxes and rights to the fur trade. A compromise agreement entered in 1251 was soon broken.
In 1411, Yakov Stepanovitch from Novogorod went to attack Northern Norway. This was the beginning of a series of clashes, and in 1419 Norwegian ships with 500 soldiers entered the White Sea. The "Murmaners", as the Norwegians were called (cf. Murmansk), plundered many Russian settlements along the coast, among them the Archangel Michael monastery.
Novgorod managed to drive the Norwegians back. However, in 1478 the area was taken over by Ivan III and passed to Muscovy with the rest of Novgorod Republic.

Trade with England, Scotland and the Netherlands

In 1555, Ivan the Terrible granted trade privileges to English merchants who founded the Company of Merchant Adventurers and began sending ships annually into the estuary of the Northern Dvina.
The meeting between Ivan and the Englishmen happened by chance; one of three English ships on their way to find the Northeast passage to China in 1553 ended up in the White Sea. The other two ships disappeared. Dutch merchants also started bringing their ships into the White Sea from the 1560s. Scottish and English merchants dominated in the 16th century, however by the 17th century it was mainly the Dutch that sailed to the White Sea area.

Founding and further development

In 1584, Ivan ordered the founding of New Kholmogory (which would later be renamed after the nearby Archangel Michael Monastery). At the time access to the Baltic Sea was still mostly controlled by Sweden, so while Arkhangelsk was icebound in winter, it remained Moscow's almost sole link to the sea-trade. Local inhabitants, called Pomors, were the first to explore trade routes to Northern Siberia as far as the trans-Ural city of Mangazeya and beyond.
In 1693, Peter I ordered the creation of a state shipyard in Arkhangelsk. A year later the ships Svyatoye Prorochestvo (Holy Prophecy), Apostol Pavel (Apostle Paul) and the yacht Svyatoy Pyotr (Saint Peter) were sailing in the White Sea. However he also realized that Arkhangelsk would always be limited as a port due to the five months of ice cover, and after a successful campaign against Swedish armies in the Baltic area, he founded Saint Petersburg in 1704.
Arkhangelsk declined in the 18th century as the Baltic trade became ever more important, but its economy revived at the end of the 19th century when a railroad to Moscow was completed and timber became a major export. The city resisted Bolshevik rule from 1918 to 1920 and was a stronghold of the anti-Bolshevik White Army supported by the military intervention of Entente forces along with Canadian and American soldiers, known as the Polar Bear Expedition.
During both world wars, Arkhangelsk was a major port of entry for Allied aid. During World War II the city became known in the West as the destination of the Arctic Convoys bringing supplies to assist the Russians who were cut off from their normal supply lines.
Today Arkhangelsk remains a major seaport, now open year-round due to improvements in icebreakers. The city is primarily a timber and fishing center. On March 16, 2004, 58 people were killed in an explosion at an apartment block in the city.

Architecture and Monuments

Mikhail Lomonosov came from a Pomor village near Kholmogory. A monument to him was installed to a design by Ivan Martos in 1829. A monument to Peter I was designed by Mark Antokolsky in 1872 and installed in 1914.
A maritime school, technical university, and a regional museum are located in the city. After its historical churches were destroyed during Stalin's rule, the city's main extant landmarks are the fort-like Merchant Yards (1668–84) and the New Dvina Fortress (1701–05). The Assumption Church on the Dvina embankment (1742–44) was rebuilt in 2004.
A remarkable structure is also Arkhangelsk TV Mast, a 151 metres tall guyed mast for FM-/TV-broadcasting built in 1964. This tubular steel mast has six crossbars equipped with gangways, which run in two levels from the mast structure to the crossbars. On these crossbars there are also several antennas installed


The novel Predator's Gold featured a version of Arkhangelsk called Arkangel that was a dangerous Traction City.
The James Bond movie GoldenEye begins at a dam by a chemical facility near Arkhangelsk, although the scenes themselves were actually shot at the Verzasca Dam in Switzerland—tall mountains as seen in the background cannot be found anywhere near Arkhangelsk.
British author Robert Harris's novel Archangel centres on a plot to restore Communism in Russia through a son of Stalin, who is taken to the wilderness and hidden near the town as a young boy by the KGB. In 2005 it was made into a three-part television drama by the BBC starring Daniel Craig.
Canadian filmmaker Guy Maddin's 1990 surrealist film Archangel is set in Arkhangelsk, just after the end of World War I (the fight goes on, as the characters are unaware the war has ended).
In March 2007, French jazz trumpeter Erik Truffaz releases a cd titled "Arkhangelsk". Eugenie Fraser published her autobiography The House by the Dvina which is set in Archangel and Broughty Ferry, Scotland from 1905 to 1920. It, therefore, includes World War I, The Revolution, the murder of the Tsar and the withdrawal of the Allied Intervention from the North.
A common anecdote is that the port of Arkhangelsk is the geographic origin of the Russian Blue cat breed.
In 2007, Alex Kravchenko, who was born in Arkhangelsk, became the first Russian citizen to ever win a World Series of Poker bracelet. He went on to come in 4th place at the WSOP main event to become the all-time leading money winner among Russian players.
Philip Pullman's 2008 novella Once Upon a Time in the North is set in a fictionalized Arkhangelsk called Novy Odense.


Sister Cities

Arkhangelsk in Arabic: أرخانجيلسك
Arkhangelsk in Asturian: Arkhanguelsk
Arkhangelsk in Belarusian: Горад Архангельск
Arkhangelsk in Bulgarian: Архангелск
Arkhangelsk in Catalan: Arkhànguelsk
Arkhangelsk in Chuvash: Архангельск
Arkhangelsk in Czech: Archangelsk
Arkhangelsk in German: Archangelsk
Arkhangelsk in Estonian: Arhangelsk
Arkhangelsk in Modern Greek (1453-): Αρχάγγελσκ
Arkhangelsk in Spanish: Arjángelsk
Arkhangelsk in Esperanto: Arĥangelsko
Arkhangelsk in Persian: آرخانگلسک
Arkhangelsk in French: Arkhangelsk
Arkhangelsk in Korean: 아르한겔스크
Arkhangelsk in Croatian: Arhangelsk
Arkhangelsk in Ido: Arkangelsk
Arkhangelsk in Indonesian: Arkhangelsk
Arkhangelsk in Ossetian: Архангельск
Arkhangelsk in Italian: Arcangelo (città)
Arkhangelsk in Hebrew: ארכנגלסק
Arkhangelsk in Georgian: არხანგელსკი
Arkhangelsk in Latin: Archangelopolis
Arkhangelsk in Lithuanian: Archangelskas
Arkhangelsk in Hungarian: Arhangelszk
Arkhangelsk in Dutch: Archangelsk
Arkhangelsk in Japanese: アルハンゲリスク
Arkhangelsk in Norwegian: Arkhangelsk
Arkhangelsk in Norwegian Nynorsk: Arkhangelsk
Arkhangelsk in Polish: Archangielsk
Arkhangelsk in Portuguese: Arcangel
Arkhangelsk in Romanian: Arhanghelsk
Arkhangelsk in Russian: Архангельск
Arkhangelsk in Serbian: Архангелск
Arkhangelsk in Finnish: Arkangeli
Arkhangelsk in Swedish: Archangelsk
Arkhangelsk in Turkish: Arkhangelsk
Arkhangelsk in Ukrainian: Архангельськ
Arkhangelsk in Chinese: 阿尔汉格尔斯克
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